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I would be remiss if I did not remind you how important the right knives are for chopping, paring, slicing, and carving-everything from fruits and veggies to roasts and turkeys. At the very least, you will need one high-quality utility knife and one four-inch paring knife for the majority of your cutting needs in the Smart Kitchen. If you are planning to purchase a new knife set and you want something durable, then I highly recommend MAC Japanese knives, which are acclaimed by chefs all over the world as the world's finest knives. The MAC knives are what I personally use because they have a razor sharp edge, stay sharp a long time, and have thin blades for easy slicing. They are easily available online.

Thermos Cooker
A wide-mouthed thermos is helpful for taking soups, stews and leftovers to work with you.

Flaxseed Grinder
Since ground flaxseeds are such a potent source of metabolism-boosting omega-3s and fiber-rich lignans-which function as natural hormone balancers-a specially designed flaxseed grinder is a valuable Smart Kitchen item. The Krups F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades is an efficient, easy-to-use grinder. You can find it and similar products online.

Mortar and Pestle
Many of the recipes call for crushed dried herbs. A mortar and pestle is best for extracting the essence of the dried herbs and spices used in the recipes. The mortar and pestle crushes the herbs, which in turn releases the volatile oils that contain the herbs' health and aromatic qualities. The aromas of the ground, dried herbs or spices are nearly four times as strong as the same herbs and spices before they are ground.

Seed Grinder
For grinding and crushing seeds (like anise, fennel, or coriander), a small hand-turned mill is very useful.

The Thrill of the Grill: Gas versus Charcoal
Grilling is here to stay. And nothing says outdoor fun more than a cookout. Health wise, the oxidative reaction of charcoal grilling (a combination of browning and charring) may be somewhat toxic. Food can soak up added chemicals from the charcoal briquettes, too. So, if you are a charcoal fan, please be sure to cut off any charred, burned, or blackened portions of food. Gas grilling is another way to go, especially if there is no sensitivity to hydrocarbons, which are the by-products of gas combustion.

The safest way to protect your food from harmful substances formed during the grilling process is to marinate, marinate, marinate. Some research shows that marinades can cut down on carcinogen production by nearly 99 percent.

SMART TIP: You can make easy grilling marinades by combining about 1 cup olive oil, 1?2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice, and 1?4 cup apple cider vinegar seasoned with some of your favorite herbs. For a sweeter marinade you can also add a tablespoon of Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener.

Other Smart Cooking Tools and Cutlery

  • Wooden spoons
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Slotted spoon
  • 2 chopping boards (1 for meats, 1 for veggies)
  • Rubber spatulas
  • Mixing bowls (various sizes)
  • Lemon juicer
  • Tongs
  • Pastry brush for basting
  • Garlic press
  • Grater
  • Can opener
  • Utility knife
  • 4" paring knife
  • Scissors
  • Ceramic sharpening rod
  • Masher
  • Whisk
  • Popsicle molds
  • Freezer-proof, airtight containers
  • Grilling accessories (broad-headed jumbo tongs and turner tongs with one-sided spatula)
  • Vegetable spiralizer
  • Food processor/blender for whipping up smoothies and pates
  • Toaster oven

Smart Eating

You're Paleo. You're Primal. You're Price, Ketogenic, GAPS or Vegan. No problem.To reap the very best benefits of whatever program you follow, you can easily integrate many of these Smart Eating components for dee-licious, filling meals and snacks every day of the week. Remember: The more Smart Fat you eat (and digest properly), the faster you will lose weight, restore your cell membranes from head to toe and repair your stress, hunger and sex hormones while insuring that soft, wrinkle-free skin!

Smart Fats are simply destined to become the smartest staple in everybody's kitchen. They seal in delicate food flavors, keep food hot, and contribute to juiciness, color and texture. And they leave us more satisfied long-term.

Smart Fat Transition Tips
Here are my top 10 Transitional Tips to bring smart, healthy fats back into your kitchen, especially if you are leaving behind your no-to-low fat diet or have been avoiding fats because of digestive issues or gallbladder concerns.

  1. Your best bet is to start with about two teaspoons of coconut oil in smoothies or your morning coffee or tea because coconut oil, unlike the other Smart Fats, does not require bile to break it down to be utilized. While you're at it, experiment with 1?2 cup of full-fat canned coconut milk in curries and soups for a creamy, rich taste and velvety smooth texture. YUM!
  2. Do butter up your veggies with organic pastured butter and melt some on your non-GMO popcorn.
  3. Start using ghee or avocado oil for your higher heat cooking or frying. Avocado oil is ideal for searing your meats and frying in a wok.
  4. Use avocado as a spread instead of partially hydrogenated mayonnaise.
  5. Experiment with omega-rich hemp seed oil on salads, especially if you are not a flax oil lover. Just treat it with TLC-always store in the fridge and use it up quickly.
  6. Consider substituting turkey bacon for bacon from pork. Pork is one of the top three allergens for gallbladder issues. Wrap a slice of turkey bacon around your turkey burger, crumble crispy bacon bits into salads, soups and veggie sides (like string beans, spinach, collards, Brussels sprouts and cabbage).
  7. Snack on nut butters (like pumpkin, peanut or sesame) with celery, carrot and jicama sticks or spread on a Granny Smith apple between meals. Note, once again, that I can't in good conscience recommend any almond products produced in the USA whether organic or not because all almonds are either gassed or overly heated, which negates all possible nutritional benefits. The "King of Nuts" has sadly fallen off the throne.
  8. Get savvy about SaviSeeds. These omega-3 and protein-rich seeds are also known as sacha inchi seeds. SaviSeeds give chia a run for their money as they are being promoted as the "highest source of omega-3 on the planet." They are native to the Amazon Rain Forest and are an ancient health food in Peru. They are now available in select health food stores from Vega and can be ordered from The seeds take a bit of getting used to, but I find them to be a perfect snack in their one-ounce packet. Each one-ounce packet provides an incredible six grams of omega-3 and nine grams of protein.
  9. Toss some pine nuts in all types of tomato sauces; make a breading for chicken and fish out of toasted crushed pistachios, pecans or walnuts and use ground flax seeds for bread crumbs and binders in all recipes.
  10. If you are trying to avoid eggs because of gallbladder issues, allergies or food sensitivities, then use my egg substitute in recipes by blending one tablespoon ground flax with three tablespoons of water and let stand for three minutes before adding mixture to a recipe.
  11. Enjoy organic full-fat dairy products, allergies permitting, like plain Greek yogurt or cream combined with fruits as a refreshing dessert. If dairy is a no-go, then substitute some coconut yogurt or coconut cream. Either way, top with toasted flax, chia or shredded unsweetened coconut for crunch, a boost of fiber and some powerful omega-3s.

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.

Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.